Review: From the Ashes by Xen Sanders


Title: From the Ashes (Fires of Redemption #1)
Author: Xen Sanders
Genre: Paranormal romance, M/M, dark
Release Date: 2 Jan 2017
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My rating: 4.5 Stars


Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?


This story is such an unusual read and I enjoyed it so much. It's Xen Sanders' second book, and in a way there are some similarities with Shatterproof which I also loved.

We have Tobias, a dark and broody antihero, supervillan who hides a human heart who tells the story and I found his voice was powerful and absolutely fascinating. It's not easy to make the reader fall in love with someone like him, he's killed millions, is (for most of the story) a tool for mass destruction in his father's hand, yet Xen Sanders gives us an insight into his soul (yes, he does one). His inner doubts, the small questions that keep piling up, the chance of a different life, the hope that he can be human, can love and be loved in return, all those little things add up make him more human that even he thought possible. And all this turmoil and questioning of his own self and his perception of the world comes from meeting and getting involved sexually and romantically (much to his surprise) with another person, professor Sean Archer.

The reader is led to believe for most of the story that Sean is just that, am ethics professor who falls for his student. Avoiding spoilers I will just say, there is much more to him, most of it coming out unexpectedly and it was brilliant both in terms of plot twist and romantic perspective. 

From the Ashes has an action-packed plot, full of twists, a rich background to a story of finding yourself, your humanity and fighting to be a better person. It's never too late to change if you really want/believe in this new self of yours.

The story reads far too real and human for a paranormal romance. For me it reads like one big metaphor for our present day wold - power struggles, fear/hatred of anyone who is different, and the tender intimate connection be ween two human beings which makes all the hardships bearable and all the struggles worth for the potential of happiness.

I loved the tension, the dynamics between Tobias and Sean. Their relationship stands out to me with its richness and depth of feelings, never crossing into being cheesy, never opting for the easy solution of I love you and i forgive you everything.

This is yet another impeccably written story by Xen Sanders. His witting is powerful fill of poetry and drama, dark and hopeful at the same time. Definitely I recommended read for fans of paranormal romance and for anyone who like a complex story with intricate characters inhabiting the gray area between good and evil.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N

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